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Saddam Husayn and Islam, 1968–2003

, 496 pages
October 2014



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Saddam Husayn and Islam, 1968–2003

Ba`thi Iraq from Secularism to Faith

Saddam Hussein and Islam, 1968–2003, offers an intellectual history of the Ba`thi Party from the 1940s through 2003. Amatzia Baram focuses on the transition from its early insistence on "unity, freedom, and socialism" to its Islamization by the time it was toppled by U.S. forces in 2003, a change largely impelled by the need to rally Iraqis against Iran during their war of 1980–88. Baram reveals signs that Saddam Hussein himself became some sort of born-again Muslim, though these signs are inconclusive.

Sources include open source material but also internal secret files and highly classified audiotapes of Saddam Hussein that were made available to researchers at the Conflict Records Research Center at National Defense University and some documents at the Hoover Institution.

Amatzia Baram is professor emeritus for Middle East history and director of the Center for Iraq Studies, University of Haifa.

"This is a major work that will change our interpretation of Iraq’s recent history."

"Documentation is meticulous, and the comparisons that Iraqis make with their counterparts in Syria and Iran are riveting. Many books have been written on Iraq, but none to date offers such a persuasive account of the Ba`th régime’s inner logic."

"Amatzia Baram, a distinguished historian of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, provides novel insights regarding Saddam Hussein’s use of Islam in this intelligent new study... The author is a master storyteller. The book, though lengthy and scholarly, is a page-turner... Essential reading for scholars of modern Iraqi history and of Islam and politics."

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